What Does 'Ace' Mean In Volleyball?

Micha Hancock went down in history during the 2012 NCAA volleyball tournament when she had 22 service aces in Penn State's run to the final four. Her final tally broke the NCAA tournament record previously set by three-time Olympic gold medalist and one of the best to play the game, Misty May-Treanor. 

How does one become a fearsome server like Hancock and score lots of aces? First, each athlete has to determine his or her best serving style.

Definition Of An Ace In Volleyball

The term "ace" refers to when a player serves the ball and the opposing team is unable to pass it. An ace occurs when the ball either hits the ground or is shanked off of a passer making a second touch impossible.

Types Of Volleyball Serves

The most commonly used serving styles are topspin, float, and jump serve.

Topspin Serve

A topspin serve is when servers attack the ball by snapping their wrists similar to how they would when spiking, so that the ball spins and dives to the floor after crossing the plane of the net. This advanced serve requires the ability to aim at a target, and players need control over their strength in order to keep the ball in bounds.

Float Serve

A float serve is more common and is one of the more difficult types of serves for the receiving team to pass. The ball is struck with a firm wrist, almost like you are giving the ball a high-five. It does not have any type of spin on it, causing it to move unpredictably and making it harder for the opponent to determine where the ball is heading.

Jump Serve

A jump serve is a high-level serve that is becoming increasingly popular within the volleyball community. This serve looks very similar to a back-row attack. It requires an approach, which means that the server needs to be far behind the line to allow enough room to hit the ball. For a jump float, servers toss the ball after they have started their approach, while a jump topspin serve calls for the ball to be tossed before the approach has been started.

Practice makes perfect, and perfecting your serve can increase your chances of scoring an ace. If you do so, maybe one day you'll go down in the record books.

Princeton Wins League Title For First Time Since 1998

EIVA Championship: Harvard vs. Princeton

Unlock this video, live events, and more with a subscription!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

They didn’t go down as easily this time. In fact, it took No. 1 Princeton five sets to dispatch No. 3 Penn State in the EIVA championship match (28-26, 22-25, 25-18, 20-25, 15-13). It was the third time this season the two teams had played each other, with Princeton winning both of the previous meetings in four sets. 

Princeton, Penn State To Meet In EIVA Title Match

With wins in Thursday night’s EIVA semifinals, Princeton and Penn State advanced to the conference championship match, to be played on Saturday night inside Princeton’s Dillon Gymnasium.

EIVA Honors Trio Of Hall Of Famers

Saturday, on the campus of Princeton University in Princeton, New Jersey, the EIVA men’s volleyball conference will crown a new champion. 

EIVA Championships Preview

Princeton didn’t really need to beat Penn State in both teams’ final regular season match of the 2019 season. With a four-set victory over Saint Francis the night before, the Tigers had secured the EIVA regular season championship and hosting rights for the conference playoffs. 

CEV Women's Final Is Set For Imoco, Novara

In the 2018-19 CEV Champions League semifinals, Italy proved itself to be home of the best women’s professional volleyball in Europe. 

EIVA Notebook: Gimeno Shines For NJIT

A big week in EIVA men’s volleyball saw the four postseason contenders determined, and a new team rise to No. 2 in the standings.

EIVA Notebook: Princeton Digs In At No. 1

With only six teams advancing to the national postseason, winning your conference title is of the utmost importance for college men’s volleyball teams with NCAA Championship ambitions. 

Samantha Bricio Aims For The Top Of The World With Fenerbahce

Something about the way Samantha Bricio plays the game of volleyball catches a spectator’s eye. Perhaps it’s her graceful nonchalance on defense or her readiness to attack from anywhere on the court. It could just as easily be her practically un-passable hybrid jump serve or her understated but genuine celebrations. Of course, she’s also a pretty solid attacker who jumps high and swings fast. 

Bricio, Fenerbahce Among CEV Women's Final Four

The quarterfinals of the CEV Champions League made it pretty clear which regions serve as hubs for the best women’s professional volleyball in Europe. 

EIVA Notebook: Penn State Downs Reigning MIVA Champ

Only five of the EIVA’s eight teams competed last week and there were no conference matchups, so instead of our usual weekly notebook format, we’re going to break down the results for each of those five active teams and give you a preview of the top upcoming matches.